‘Nooks hold off late rally by Miners for first victory in 2014

Box Score PALMER – The Chugiak-Eagle Chinooks (1-2) find the win column on Wednesday night with a 9-5 victory over the Mat-su Miners (2-1) to wrap up a series of four scheduled non-league games.  Tuesday’s game slated between the two clubs was waived off due to rain that fell over much of south-central Alaska, forcing a rematch back at Herman Brothers Field.

Jon Ferrendelli took the ball for the Miners, and he met an already surging Chinooks offense.  After walking James Nevant and hitting Bret Collins with one out in the top of the 1st inning, cleanup hitter, Kyle Conkle, singled to right field plating Nevant for the first run of the game.  Ferrendelli would then strike out Billy Arendt followed by a single off the bat of Jackson Cramer that would score Collins.  2-0 Chinooks.  Geoff Murphy drew a two-out walk followed up by a Griffith Roark rocket to right field that scored Conkle.  This concluded a 3-run opening frame for the Fish that saw all nine men in the order face Ferrendelli.

The bottom of the 1st inning was the Alaska Baseball League debut for righty Kyle McDorman.  Miners center fielder, Cameron Frost, legged out a dribbler between the mound and third base for an infield single before he was erased on a fielder’s choice hit by Dan Wunderlich.  The Miners then put runners at the corners when Nick Senzel got one under the glove of Jackson Cramer at first base.  Hunter Simmons drove in the lone Miners run for the first eight innings with a groundout to second baseman Griffith Roark.

The Chinooks offense added another run in the 2nd and 4th innings before roughing up Wasilla, Alaska native, Josh Grissom, with four runs in the 6th.  Collins recorded the 3rd of his three hits to lead off the inning, then Arendt would draw a one-out walk.  Cramer then plugged the left-center gap over the heads of the Miners outfielders who played shallow defense on the hefty left-handed slugger.  That would score Collins easily form second base and Arendt all the way from first.

Two walks, a single by Roark, and three wild pitches in a row by Grissom allowed two more runs to scamper home for Chugiak-Eagle River forcing another pitching change for Mat-su.  They turned to another Wasilla gent, Jonathan Boyer, who froze the Chinook rally with first-pitch 4-6-3 twin killer.  Boyer would go on to toss 2 and 2/3 scoreless innings for the Miners.

On the other side of the scorecard, the Chinooks rode the right arms of McDorman, Lance Phillips, Shane Armstrong, and Zach Freeman through the entire contest.  McDorman allowed the one hit by Frost in the first, but would shut down the Miners the next three innings seeing just one over the minimum during that period.

Phillips (1-0) would pick up the winning decision working the 5th and 6th innings while allowing just one base hit.  Shane Armstrong followed that up with a 1-2-3 7th and used 15 pitches to maneuver through a scoreless 8th frame.

As the game entered the 9th inning, things seemed eerily similar to the previous contests between these two teams with another wild finish.

The Chinooks had two men aboard, but were quickly turned away thanks to a line-out double play at first.

Freeman took the mound for Chugiak-Eagle River in the bottom of the 9th.  He walked Senzel to lead off the inning, then struck out Hunter Simmons.  Four runs (only one earned) on just two hits and three errors would come next that found the Miners in a ballgame again.  However, Freeman would need just one pitch to get Frost to fly out to deep center field to put the cap on a 9-5 victory for the visiting Chinooks.

Miners pitching surrendered 11 walks versus 12 hits in the contest, while the Chinooks stranded 14 runners on the base paths.  Terrence Connelly was the lone man on the home side with a multi-hit game.  He had two of their six total hits.  The Chinooks offense was paced by Bret Collins’ three hit, two double night and Jackson Cramer who also recorded three hits while driving home three.

The Chinooks are back in action Thursday night at Loretta French Park where they will host the American Legion All-Stars from Chugiak and Eagle River at 7 pm.

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